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High Impact Learning Design Practices

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 12:00pm – 12:30pm parallel session



Room 8 – 303 B09 Sem



Dr John Weldon
Victoria University, Australia

Associate Professor Andrew Smallridge
Victoria University, Australia

Trish McCluskey
Victoria University, Australia



Victoria University’s (VU) innovative, student-centred Block Model has disrupted the Australian Higher Education sector, forcing it to reconsider the relevance of traditional modes of learning and teaching. This Australian-first model is intentionally designed to inspire and enable academic staff to create the kind of active, agile and flexible high impact educational practices-based (Kuh, G. 2008 p.32) environment that sets students up to succeed and excel in the uncertain and evolving 21st century workplace. In order to achieve this radical change in philosophy and action, VU chose to adopt a learner-centred “team-based design” (Bass, R. 2012 p.8) approach to curriculum design, development, teaching and reflection, which recognises that staff must be supported and developed professionally in order for them to create authentic and impactful learning environments for students. This approach ensures “that the instructor is no longer at the center. Instead the course and student learning are at the center, surrounded by all the other players at the table” (Bass p.8).  This was achieved via the deliberate dismantling of discipline and other traditional Higher Education silos and the construction of facilitated collaborations, which brought together the expertise of academics, learning designers, librarians, support staff and administrators. This presentation will outline how this collective and collegial method of learning design led to the realisation and codification of a set of practices and behaviours which effectively apply Kuh’s high impact practices (for students) to the academic work environment. This showcase shows how the Block Model practices effected the same “range of positive outcomes” (Kuh, G. et al, 2017 p.9) for VU Educators as they do for students. Evaluative evidence in the form of interviews with a cross section of staff involved in the development and implementation of this team-based approach, along with data which demonstrates the effectiveness of these practices on retention, satisfaction and improvements for staff and students will be presented.


Bass, R., 2012, ‘Disrupting Ourselves: The Problem of Learning in Higher Education’, EDUCAUSE Review, vol.47, no.2, pages 23-33.
Kuh, G., O’Donnell, K., Geary Schneider, C., 2017, ‘HIPs at Ten’, Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, Vol 49, Issue 5, pages 8-16.
Kuh, G., 2008, High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter, AACU.


Presentation topic

Academics – Work and Identity

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